The original Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was constructed as a federal Public Works Administration (PWA) project. It was a “lift bridge that carries the US 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. The bridge [was] a double deck truss bridge, with the U.S. 1 Bypass road deck above and a railroad bed below … Completed in 1940, the bridge [was] the second to carry motor vehicle traffic between Maine and New Hampshire at Portsmouth, and replaced a river crossing dating from 1822. The bridge was the direct result of the work of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority, which had been formed in 1937. The major goal of the bridge project was to relieve congestion in downtown Portsmouth and Kittery, where U.S. 1 crossed the river via the Memorial Bridge, which had opened in 1923.” (Wikipedia)
The original Sarah Mildred Long Bridge incurred multiple instances of structural damage in 2013 and 2016, and it was demolished in 2016-7, with a replacement span opening in 2018.
A 1939 article in a local newspaper described the original span in detail: “That work on the new Portsmouth – Kittery bridge and approaches is proceeding as scheduled by the engineers was announced today by James R. Gardner,- PWA engineer on the project. All of the contractors have begun work and very little delay is expected due to the recent snow storm. The Phoenix Bridge Co., engineers visited the site last week making preparations for handling and storing the steel work which is being fabricated at their plant in Phoenixville, Pa. The Western Union underwater cable, which lay in the path of the foundation of the new bridge was moved downstream about 50 feet to clear construction operations. The Boston Maine B. R. has been engaged for some time moving supplies and equipment on Noble’s Island making ample space for the Frederick Snare Corp. construction plant and bridge piers. Three Diesel-powered… capacity shovels were unloaded this week by the John lafolla Construction Co., contractor for the approach highway on the New Hampshire side. Work will be immediately started relocating the Concord branch of the B. M. R. R. The Littleton Construction Co. working on the Maine approach has nearly completed the earth and rock excavation. Additional fill required is being hauled from a pit located on Langton’s farm in Kittery. A survey of the employment shows that approximately 100 men have been employed on this project daily during the past few weeks.”
The Portsmouth Herald 16 March 1939
Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on May 25, 2014.
Additional contributions by Evan Kalish.
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